Advanced English

Lesson #284: ‘That Skill In Living Languages’ – Charlotte Bronte on Teaching and Studying Foreign Languages (‘The Professor’)

In light of the ongoing war and widespread migration of refugees throughout Europe, many of us are reconsidering what languages we are studying and why. In what way does having another language help you? 💭 Practically speaking, it can help us to find a job, to secure accommodation, to make friends and even communicate with […]

Lesson #284: ‘That Skill In Living Languages’ – Charlotte Bronte on Teaching and Studying Foreign Languages (‘The Professor’) Read More »

Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #220 (Part 2): When to Use ‘Whether’ vs ‘If’ in English – Their Similarities and Differences

📘 I really do not know whether I felt that I did this for Estella’s sake, or whether I was glad to transfer to the man in whose preservation I was so much concerned some rays of the romantic interest that had so long surrounded me. Perhaps the latter possibility may be the nearer to

Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #220 (Part 2): When to Use ‘Whether’ vs ‘If’ in English – Their Similarities and Differences Read More »

Mini-Lesson Monday, Lesson #220 (Part 1): When to Use ‘Whether’ vs ‘If’ in English – Their Similarities and Differences

📘 No; I should not have minded that, if they would only have left me alone. But they wouldn’t leave me alone. They seemed to think the opportunity lost, if they failed to point the conversation at me, every now and then, and stick the point into me. I might have been an unfortunate little

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Lesson #184: Describing A Process and An End Result: How to Correctly Use ‘Eventually’, ‘Finally’, ‘Gradually’, and ‘Ultimately’

Many students have struggled with understanding the differences between two essential adverbs: gradually and eventually. So in this Lesson I will try to define each with plenty of examples and synonyms where possible. I mentioned in yesterday’s Lesson (on Cecilia, by Frances Burney) that this week we would be looking at some novels that either

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Lesson #183: ‘Probably’, ‘Possibly’, ‘Maybe’, and ‘Perhaps’: Talking About Likelihood or Chance in English

Have you ever struggled with knowing exactly when to use the words ‘probably’, ‘possibly’, ‘maybe’, or ‘perhaps’? In this Lesson we will look at all the different ways you can emphasise the likelihood or chance that something is going to happen. I cannot think of a better book full of helpful examples than Frances Burney’s

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Lesson #175: Browning’s ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ and the Magic of Prefixes

The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood  As if they were changed into blocks of wood,  Unable to move a step, or cry  To the children merrily skipping by —  Could only follow with the eye  That joyous crowd at the Piper’s back.   – Robert Browning, ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ (1842) …  Once

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Lesson #174: Enriching Your Vocabulary With Synonyms: Reading from Radcliffe’s ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’

📚 If you are an intermediate or advanced level English language student, you have almost certainly been told that you should read more in English if you want to improve your command of the language. One of the reasons this rings true is that reading (especially literature) exposes us to new or choice words that

Lesson #174: Enriching Your Vocabulary With Synonyms: Reading from Radcliffe’s ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’ Read More »

Lesson #173: The Passive Voice in Gaskell’s ‘Cousin Phillis’

📗 Early as it was, every one had breakfasted, and my basin of bread and milk was put on the oven-top to await my coming down. Every one was gone about their work. The first to come into the house-place was Phillis with a basket of eggs. Faithful to my resolution, I asked – ‘What are those?’ She looked at me

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Lesson #171: Words and Phrases that Indicate Time Sequences, through Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’

🏝️ Robinson Crusoe (1719) has been widely acknowledged as the first novel ever written in English. Many of us, whether or not we grew up in an English-speaking culture, are long familiar with the storyline of Robinson Crusoe – an Englishman who gets shipwrecked (the ship is sunk by a storm at sea) and ends up

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Lesson #159: Wondering Wildly in ‘Wuthering Heights’: Expressions Using ‘If … Then …’

​📗 ‘I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is or should be an existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from

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Lesson #157: An Oasis to Dream About: Yeats’ ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’

📜 I am sharing a poem today that I particularly like: ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ by Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939).  Yeats’ poem rings a chord in these days when we cannot readily travel but can only dream of places of tranquil beauty. In English, we often speak of such places as ‘oases’

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Lesson #154: ‘Courage to go forth into its expanse’: Finding The Purpose And Perseverance You Need To Keep Studying English

A new year, and new beginnings! 🌼 This small snowdrop in our front garden reminds me of British novelist Charlotte Bronte, who was described by her neighbours as looking ‘just like a snowdrop’ on the day she got married. It brings to mind a passage in Jane Eyre (1847) – very suitable for the beginning of a

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